Sabah ranks lowest in breast cancer nationally but is second highest where cervical cancer is concerned, necessitating a good Radiotherapy and Oncology Centre, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
He said this in his speech when opening KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital's Radiotherapy and Oncology Centre, the first owned by a private hospital in the State.
"Based on the National Cancer Registry Report 2007-2011, women with the highest breast cancer are between 45 and 60," he said. His speech was read by State Secretary Datuk Seri Hashim Paian.
"Sabah needs to have a good Radiotherapy and Oncology Centre to deal with cervical cancer problems," he said, and emphasised on the crucial role played by healthcare service providers in the State, especially in bringing new medical technology to treat major illnesses.
"This is timely as the community now has better economic wellbeing and easy access to medical facilities.
"As the first private hospital to open this centre in Sabah, it will give rise to the healthcare landscape to be more dynamic, in addition to it paving the way to attract outpatients especially from Brunei, Indonesia, China and the Philippines," he said.
Also present was KPJ Healthcare Berhad President and Managing Director Dato Amiruddin Abdul Satar who said their investment in the centre, which has two resident specialists, reflects KPJ's commitment to helping Sabah become a hub for healthcare excellence.
"We will continue to invest in the State, through the development of medical expertise, healthcare facilities and manpower development.
"We are also keen to provide the KPJ experience to more Sabahans, and this is the reason why the hospital will be providing free breast cancer radiotherapy for five patients currently undergoing treatment in public sector hospitals," he said.
In honour of this commitment, Amiruddin presented the said five radiotherapy packages to the President of Kinabalu Pink Ribbon, Nancy Tham, during the launch.
"The contribution takes into consideration the increasing need in the State today. In 2017, a total of 480 cancer patients received treatment at KPJ Sabah whereby 379 patients underwent chemotherapy treatment and 101 received radiotherapy treatment.
"This year, there has been an increase in patient numbers by 40 per cent, out of which 47 per cent was for chemotherapy treatment and 13 per cent for radiotherapy treatment.
"As a responsible corporate citizen, KPJ also reaches out to the community through public health screening sessions, health talks and other events.
"We continue to touch the lives of the impoverished and underprivileged in communities through the Klinik Waqaf An-Nur (KWAN) initiative which has served more than one million patients since the inception of the first KWAN clinic in 1998, in Johor," he said.
He said today, KPJ Hospitals manages a KWAN network of 20 clinics throughout Malaysia and five mobile clinics.